It cannot be denied that this is a year that has already been rocked with controversy. Arguments off the rink have taken the sparkle off of the ice… what with the GC taking on acid-tongued judge, Jason Gardiner, in a hoo-ha about selling stories; then there’s Love Island ‘glamour’ girl Meghan embarrassing her beau Wes via the medium of Twitter – arguing with his dancing partner Vanessa (leading to some very awkward hugs after a performance). Who would have thought that the Ballroom bozo, James Jordan, would be fading into the background… despite his sizzling performances? However, we’re going to look at the on-ice action now and offer up our top Dancing on Ice betting tips, odds and predictions.
Dancing on (Thin) Ice… Who Will Take the Crown?
So, in terms of talent, this year is as varied as any other. There are the celebrities who have started off strong – with some impressive scores and routines; then there are the ones who just about stay upright… yet seem to stay to the detriment of the mid-tablers.
When it comes to standout contestants, there’s the obvious James Jordan. He has the obvious advantage of being a dancer, so it’s just the skating skills he needed to learn. However, Love Island’s Wes is one to watch, who doesn’t have the training, but has a natural talent, youth and enthusiasm. Melody from The Pussycat Dolls, also familiar with dance, seems to be the best female contestant; however, Jane Danson and Saara Aalto also offer up promise. Down the other end, we have the ever-vibrant (and ever-annoying) Gemma Collins and the lovely Didi Conn (Frenchie from Grease). Let’s take a look at the contestants in a bit more depth.
Most people will be familiar with James Jordan from his Strictly Come Dancing Career, along with wife, Ola. He is an incredibly competitive individual, which was evident in Strictly, but also in Celebrity Big Brother where he had several run-ins with big man Audley Harrison. Because he is no longer on Strictly, he doesn’t seem to have many other commitments, which also means he has a lot of time to practice.
This competitiveness, free time, along with his dancing ability means he’s definitely going to be one to beat. He started off the season with, quite possibly the best first skate there’s ever been; however, he had a few slip-ups the following week which saw him slip to second on the leader board… which would have killed him inside. However, sometimes he rubs people up the wrong way… and sometimes the audience rebels against the people with the obvious advantage, so it might be tough for him. He’s back with another week at the top of the leaderboard; with a perfect weekend, he’s now the favourite to win with a best price 4/7 at Ladbrokes.
The Love Island star may not have won Love Island, but he walked away with the Barbie of his dreams and the opportunity to become a z-lister in the meantime. It can’t be denied that he’s an intelligent lad, having qualified as an engineer. He also seems to be one of those annoying people that is good at whatever he turns his hand to (in a Ray Quinn way). His first week he did well, coming second on the leader board; however, on the next week, he did even better and moved up to the top.
Wes is another ‘celebrity’ with time on his hands, so he has a lot of time to put into it. He also has the impetus of trying to strengthen his tenuous claim to celebrity – so will want to stay on – and on TV as long as possible. Couple this with a natural talent and his Live Island fans, he looks to do well in the competition – although if his girlfriend keeps shooting her mouth off over Twitter, this might create a bit of a backlash against him, so she needs to pipe down for his sake.
Update: Now Meghan is history – and now he’s had another solid performance, his odds of winning are increasing… he’s now favourite with most – best odds 13/8 at Bet365.
Another reality TV star offering is the golden-voiced Saara Alto, a Finnish national who came second in X-Factor 2016. Saara, being Scandinavian, is familiar with ice skating, so she isn’t a complete stranger to the sport. However, she is no dancer, so has this to learn. Saara seems to have a natural speed across the ice, so is already at an advantage.
The first week she was a little disappointing, and her lack of dancing was evident – and she didn’t show off many skills. However, her second skate, to ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen, combined her skating and singing… and was great to watch. Although she’s not quite up with the top 2 yet, she has potential, and the likeability factor. Saara Alto has a history of coming second – but can she rise to the top here? It’s possible as she has the likeability factor too.
Update: Despite giving a great performance that earned her great marks, she was in the dance-off – which shows she may not have as much support as she needs…For that reason, she has been given best odds of 20/1 with Bet365.
Melody Thornton – Eliminated!
We’ve seen the Pussycat Dolls trickle into the UK television scene. Firstly, Nicole as a schamazing judge on X-Factor; then Kimberley as a judge on Got to Dance; Ashley followed with stints on I’m a Celebrity, Strictly Come Dancing and as a Judge on this very show… and now we have Melody. Pussycat Dolls is known as a singing and dancing group, so the members are all going to be good dancers. In fact, Ashley failed to win over audiences in Strictly because of this. Will this affect Melody?
Well, apparently, Melody was more of a singer than dancer (although you can see she knows her lines). Also, this is a skating contest where dancing is a plus… and then there’s James Jordan, who will steal the limelight with the ‘dancing experience’ argument. From what we’ve seen she’s very capable, elegant and graceful – as you’d expect… and she might be one to watch climbing through the ranks quietly. She’s a very mid-table contestant at the moment, so she’s solid. However, there’s nothing too exciting about her – and maybe her dance skills will bite her on the bum.
Jane Danson – Eliminated!
Corrie star Jane Danson (Leanne Battersby) has actually quite surprised me. She is an actress, so has performing skills, but is neither a trained skater or dancer. She also has a full-time job so she has to fit her practice around quite possibly a heavy filming schedule. However, having said that, she appears to be making it work. Her first week on this ice showed grace and elegance that was unexpected, and as such, she earned a decent score. She also did a nice job as Fantine from Les Mis.
Historically, Corrie stars do well in this programme. Despite being one of the lowest scoring stars earlier on, Brooke Vincent made it all the way to the final on the back of her following. Jane Danson might find herself with the same advantage – and with more apparent talent, it may take her to the top. If she can continue working hard, bringing good performances, she might be one to at least make the finals.
Brian McFadden – Eliminated!
Ex Westlife star, Brian McFadden is the next celebrity to ‘grace’ the ice. McFadden has been out of the spotlight for a while, no longer being a singer. However, he has tried his hand at some presenting with daytime shows such as Who’s Doing the Dishes. McFadden is known for being more of a joker than anything else – and despite his apparent ‘competition’ with James Jordan (which is very optimistic on his part), I’m not too sure how seriously he’ll take it.
He’s definitely a mid-tabler and will probably stay there until the weaker ones are eliminated. His two weeks so far have proved that he has more character than talent – and that quite possibly will be enough to get him so far… but not to the winner’s podium. Can he pick it up and prove he’s more than just a joke on the ice?
Update: Brian fell – literally – at the final hurdle… eliminated!
Gemma Collins – Eliminated!
BORING! Well, everyone knows the GC from TOWIE. She is definitely a character – and she’s definitely famous… but how she ever became famous, quite frankly, is a mystery. Gemma Collins is famous for her huge… personality and hair. She is a larger than life character that despite having zero talent, seems to have made a splash on television. She has a history in reality TV – although none of it particularly great. The one thing she does have going for her is her loyal TOWIE fan base.
The GC was in I’m a Celebrity… but famously quit after just a few days of hunger and discomfort. She was also in Celebrity Big Brother where she refused to do practically all the tasks. She is not known for her hard work ethic, so this will definitely be a challenge. This is clearly shown in her poor scores to form (which she excused by saying she was upset after Jason Gardiners comments about her being lazy…). She proved him wrong by … doing no practice all week apparently! Branded unprofessional by Holly Willoughby, last by Jason Gardiner, she’s constantly bottom of the leaderboard but has managed to stay in thanks to her loyal fans. Can she go the whole way? We hope not – but she’s probably got a few weeks in her with all the drama.
Updates: Drama? Couldn’t have been any more dramatic with a face plant on the ice! Great TV moment… although she had improved and did skate more on her own.
Update: Eliminated at last!
Ryan Sidebottom – Eliminated!
Cricket fans might be familiar with this name, but DOI fans might not. Sidebottom will have his cricket fans behind him – and the fact that sports stars do quite well due to their competitive nature. He comes across as a thoroughly likeable and decent person, and this always goes down well with the British audience. He is also seen as a bit of an underdog, which again, goes in his favour.
Sidebottom had a bad start to the show and was in the dance-off the first week, winning out against Neighbours’ Mark Little. However, he showed marked improvement the following week to avoid the dance-off, dressed up wonderfully as The Beast from Beauty and the Beast. He doesn’t have talent, but he does seem to have a very likeable personality and the will to do well, so we reckon he’ll make it for a few more weeks yet.
Saira Khan – Eliminated!
This loose woman has had a tough time in the competition. The Loose Women panellists do have a large female following, but this doesn’t always cross over well to talent competitions… as we can see here. Saira is one of the older competitors who has no experience in dancing or skating, so she is at a disadvantage; however, she does have a big personality which shows when she skates.
Saira started off well with a surprisingly good performance in week one which seemed to work to her advantage and shoe off her skills; however, the same couldn’t be said in week 2, where she struggled and ended up in the skate-off, which she controversially won against Richard Blackman. She has yet to prove her skating skills and seems to get dragged and manoeuvered around a lot. This will only take her so far… and she seems to be lacking in support. She could be one to go sooner rather than later.
Update: Saira has been eliminated
Didi Conn – Eliminated!
The name might not sound familiar, but the face will…. As the lovely Frenchie from Grease. Didi comes from a background of performing and this radiates out of her as she is utterly charming and delightful. People will lover her from Grease – a movie which has transcended time and remains popular to people of all ages. Obviously though, she has age against her, which is a disadvantage. She is the oldest contestant at 67 years old.
Didi won over the audience in week one with her dance to You’re the One that I Want… wearing her original Pink Lady outfit. This went down a treat. The next week she was equally as charming and delightful as the practically-perfect Mary Poppins. She may not be scoring high, but she has an appeal that can’t be denied. This might be one pink lady that stays for quite a while, seeing off tough competition.
Update: Didi is done. The show has lost a bit of its heart as Didi is eliminated after a skate-off with Saara Aalto.